Monthly Archives: August 2017

Evan Parker and prince hamlet

Saw a Shakespeare play last spring in Toronto, Hamlet [Prince Hamlet]. Doris offered me a ticket. Separate from great acting, staging and lighting the audience was sort of put into an altered state. Hamlet was played by a woman, Ophelia by a man and most of the actors had to learn sign language and deliver some lines signing. Some of the lines weren’t understood by us in the audience unless we could speak sign language.
When I took my seat at the start noticed some audience members who were signing and I thought about them during the play. Thought those people will understand these signed parts and are probably excited about this, assuming they’re deaf, they never get to experience theatre where they are included. I enjoyed thinking about this and the effort that went into the many dimensions of this creation.
Some people left after the intermission. I didn’t anticipate that, thought everyone was having the same experience as me just like Evan Parker.
There is a radical technique in wind playing called circular breathing. The player, on flute, saxophone etc. appears to endlessly exhale – the sound can last longer than the length of an ordinary breath. The technique is to inhale a little air into the lungs while the air already pushing through the mouth continues uninterrupted. It’s accomplished using ones cheeks to push during the moments when the nose is inhaling at least that’s how I can do it but not strong enough to do with an instrument. In the 80s John Oswald invited me to play with him opening for Evan Parker who’s circular breathing was so effortless, more than anyone I’ve ever seen. He came on stage and musically went straight into 4th gear, and his body and face were relaxed and he played for 45 minutes straight. Not one rest note for 45 minutes. Like being on hallucinegenic drugs.
After 15 minutes people started to leave, a steady trickle continued to exit for the rest of the show. I think some of them, maybe all of them, were oblivious to the mind blowing virtuosity happening then and there. I bet instead they were frustrated like when one doesn’t understand why certain art is as it is. Why are they communicating in sign language when most of us can’t speak sign language!
Is the flip side thousands lined up dropping hundreds of dollars to share the same air as some latest pop thing?


Whenever actually get uninterrupted sleep I feel like I did whatever people hope to accomplish from pilates.
When I pitch another podcast I’ll resume my rejection-letter-wallpaper art project.
When the interview started I was relieved the numbers were advancing, previously screwed up recording, my imaginary reputation ruined.
When the mother of the boy my daughter ambush hugs said they were going for ice cream I thought she meant across the street but 30 minutes later at the library I noticed them eating ice cream across the street and avoided eye contact so it was clear I wasn’t following them.
When the body shop guy said at least $2000 I know then it’s actually $500 tops.
When listening to the lecture about what the mind can’t do, I couldn’t.
When giving lessons via Skype feels like starring in a tv series.
When sitting down at the piano, start a variation on a theme and regularly end up somewhere new and exciting all the while trying to keep a little piece of attention on remembering how I get there.
When I think one part of me is completely committed to playing and another part of me is trying to remember how this piece developed I realize I am more than one thing calling myself “I” but then I realize I am I – how can I be more than one of me?

Thought Control

Finding a quarter to release the grocery store cart and the overhead sign says “this cost is the result of the costs of maintaining the carts”. The intent is for consumers to think other customers are bad and that is why you are renting the cart. It is not a comment on the grocery store they are innocent (they just profit). Programming the customers to blame other customers.
Similar on subway “our readers write”, as if it represents real thoughts from people who ride the subway. The message is other riders are frustrated about the behaviour of other riders. Argue amongst yourselves, the Toronto Transit Commission isn’t taking a side, (we’re just printing the mail).
Reminded of music industry people, often corporate lawyers raising their heads at convenient news cycles bemoaning downloading or streaming and how artists are hurt. The intent is for consumers to reflect on how they exploit artists, not that the corporate side had any history unfairly exploiting artists or upset about losing a cash cow. Nice move.